A back to back with the Bruins and Senators this weekend means if their two division rivals want the final wildcard spot, they’ll have to go through these Toronto Maple Leafs!

…. 4 more games to go.

Friday Links:

  • Elliotte Freidman: 30 Thoughts — April 3rd (Sportsnet.ca)
    Interesting thought that would play into any potential Dion Phaneuf to Detroit trade: The Red Wings have plenty of cap room, but remember Justin Abdelkader, Danny DeKeyser, Darren Helm, Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan and Brendan Smith make a little less than a combined $9.5 million right now. All of their contracts are up by the summer of 2016. What will their total be in two seasons, $25 million? How does that affect any potential trade for a higher-salaried player?
  • Sean McIndoe: Predicting and breaking down the NHL’s first playoff round (Grantland)
    We’re now down to 10 days left in the NHL schedule, which means we can start looking ahead to the postseason. Sure, we’ve all secretly been doing that since mid-January,1 but now we can admit it. The playoffs are almost here. And it’s time to start figuring out which matchups to root for.
  • ThePHWA: 2015 Masterton Nominees (Professional Hockey Writer’s Association)
    Stephane Robidas is the Leafs‘ nominee:  There were doubts that a 37-year-old defenseman coming off two broken legs could make the Maple Leafs, yet alone have an impact. But Robidas helped stabilize a Toronto blueline under very trying circumstances. On many occasions, coaches and teammates cited his influence in the improvements made by the younger Leaf defensemen, notably Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly.
  • Nate Silver: A radical proposal to destroy the NHL’s loser point (Five Thirty Eight)
    This is more than a minor annoyance; the loser point has already changed the identity of at least one NHL champion. In 2012, the Los Angeles Kings finished with 40 wins and 42 losses; they made the playoffs ahead of the 42-40 Dallas Stars because they accumulated 15 loser points to the Stars’ five. Then the Kings went on to win the Stanley Cup.
  • Kyle Cicerella: Kyle Dubas, Leafs taking baseball approach to minor league system (Kyle The Reporter)
    “I think the perception of the ECHL is that the player is going there for punishment or he’s really struggled. We want to use it as entry level to pro hockey for younger players to start out there.”
  • CBC News: Maple Leafs superfan Bobby Desmond gets send off to Toronto (CBC)
    Thanks to a donor, the 63-year-old Halifax man with cerebral palsy, two nurses and an occupational therapist are being flown to see the Leafs take on the Ottawa Senators on Easter Sunday.
  • Curt Snoddon: Maple Leafs Prospect Update: 2014-15 Wrap Up (MLHS)
    Outside of the AHL, Andreas Johnson had another monster season in the SHL. The 21 year old finished the season 3rd in scoring among players 24-years old and younger, and was 5th in goals scored in the entire league.
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